Pupukea Road

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How I save money (and how I spend it!)

I’m not working, therefore I’m depending on my husband to bring home ALL of the bacon. I’ve been working since I was a teenager, so not bringing home a paycheck feels,…weird.

“I’m not just CHILLAXING”, I’m taking care of the baby.  I read this article:


but I still have stay-at-home guilt, so I’m constantly looking for creative, do-able ways to save our budget. (Plus, I love budget problem-solving. Something must be wrong with me.)

Here are some things I do:

1. Use my own modem for Internet: Doing this saves me $8 per month. I would otherwise be charged the same amount in “equipment rental fees” from my cable company. In 10 months, the modem will have paid itself off and I will be ahead.

2. Bring my own cup/bag: Coffee houses and most grocery and big box stores offer you a few cents off if you bring in your own bag/coffee cup. It’s a very small amount, but it adds up. (I’m actually assuming this – I’m not really counting.)

3. Shop online: This can go either way for me. Access to the Internet gives me an open mall 24/7, but it also lets me comparison shop for anything from pasta to a pair of shorts. I also make sure to look for coupon codes (mostly on retailmenot.com) before clicking ‘BUY’.   (I have also been known to use my tax ID to get a wholesale or co-op account.)

4. Upgrade my cellphone plan: In a effort to stay competitive, companies are constantly changing their plans. It was the hardest thing to let go of my unlimited data plan for a shared family plan, but I’m so glad I did. We save about $50 a month with our new plans even though we stayed  with the same company (AT&T).

5. Not subscribe to a land line: I save $20 a month by NOT having a land line. When we had a land line, nobody answered it anyway.

6.  Frequent the library: My girls are avid readers and zip through books like wildfire. Instead of spending an entire paycheck at Barnes and Noble or in the Kindle store, I borrow books (including Kindle e-books) for free from  the public library.

7. Take an extended leave from work: I’ve heard this from other moms countless times. I was making money by working, but it was going straight to childcare. This is one area I wouldn’t want to ‘find the cheapest deal’ on.

8. Use essential oils instead of OTCs: Using essential oils has saved me countless trips to Longs.  I don’t use TUMs anymore (I’m digestive blend-dependent), asthma inhalers have been replaced (with lemon/lavender/peppermint), and tylenol is very sparingly used (peppermint, lavender, or deep blue resolves most fevers and growing pains). Yes, I spend money on oils, but they are pennies on the dollar compared to an albuterol prescription.

9. Use as little consumable goods as possible: Instead of paper towels, I use microfiber towels for cleaning (yellow ones from Costco) and cloth napkins for mealtimes. We use glassware instead of ziplocs, dryer balls instead of dryer sheets, and buy only 1 type of multipurpose cleaning solution (On Guard Cleaner concentrate – that will kill germs but still keep my entire house clean).

10. Go to clothing swaps and sell on eBay or Craigslist: Swapping gently used clothing with people you know is a great way to get designer labels for free. Whenever I am buying new and want something pricey, I search it’s resale value on sites like eBay and Craiglist before buying to make sure I can resell it in the future.  (I’ve sold a 3 year old purse because it was suddenly “vintage” and tripled my money.)

Sold this beauty on Craigslislist last week.

On the other hand, here are some frivolous ways I spend money. I would put effort into changing them, except, for one reason or another I’m not ready to.

1. Lease a car: If I bought a car outright, I wouldn’t have such a high car payment. On the other hand, I used to spend hundreds of  dollars on repairs to my owned vehicles ( new brakes, new tires, batteries, etc.).  With a lease it gives me the option to drop everything and start new. Like, every 3-5 years.

2. Go to Starbucks: This is my biggest vice. I try to make it at home but I really do think I deserve a $5 venti iced green tea latte sometimes.

3. Subscribe to cable: I would love to cut the cord, but until Ross stops working, we need the SURF Channel, which is only available with the premium package (of course).

4. Own a gym membership: Sure I could hike or surf, but being a member at my gym makes me so happy. I go to the beach with the girls everyday after school. Working out in air conditioning feels nice.  Here’s the link in case you forgot: https://pupukearoad.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/joined-nalu-kinetic-spa-at-turtle-bay/

5. Travel: Same as above. I could just stay home all year long – I do live in THE most beautiful place in the world, but then what?